The Changing Seasons, October 2021

Dove of peace; guns of war. Seen at the old military site of Maungauika / North Head, Devonport, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

I’m a bit late with this post. Actually I’ve been tardy with anything that involves writing, or even sitting at my desk. The weather has been kind to gardeners for the last week or so, and I’ve taken full advantage to sow seeds, plant out seedlings and generally try to wrest some control back over the wilderness our property has reverted to in the last few months.

As of this morning I’m half way through my chemo sessions. So far, the side effects have been minor and manageable, and I’m feeling generally well. There is a part of my brain that’s whispering “no pain, no gain”, but I’m trying not to listen.

After 12 weeks in various states of lock-down, Aucklanders are to have some fewer restrictions from tomorrow. Since this mainly involves being able to go into shops (though not cafes), I’m not seeing this as particularly life-changing.

We’ve being promised more when the Auckland region hits a double Covid vaccination rate of 90% — something which probably won’t happen this month. December maybe, but with a small, vocal anti-vax / anti-lockdown / Covid-denying minority increasingly targeting the vulnerable with their misinformation — who knows?

Against the backdrop of growing division and hatred, I continue to be sustained by the incredible kindness of people. From the compassion and good humour of my cancer nurses, to friends and neighbours who regularly keep in touch and drop by a for socially-distanced cuppa (one of our newish freedoms). In the last month, I’ve also been given a number of lovely, thoughtful gifts — including three from blogging friends, which are not only truly beautiful, but handmade. How can the world be so fractured and terrible when there are so many good people in it?

Ju-Lyn, (Touring My Backyard) who now co-hosts The Changing Seasons, sent me this gorgeous bookmark made by her elder daughter. Image: Su Leslie

My dear friend Sarah (Art Expedition) made these wonderful earrings for me. On a Skype call to my mother, they are the first thing she commented on! Image: Su Leslie

I’ve long admired the beautiful mosaics made by Tracy at Reflections of any Untidy Mind. Now I have one of my own. Image: Su Leslie

As for the rest of my month in photos — the usual mix of landscapes, flowers and things that just capture my attention.

Sunset, Devonport Wharf, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Sunset, Devonport Wharf, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Wharf, Conwallis, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Exposed. I think a lot of us are feeling this right now. The tideโ€™s gone out on normal life and all the ugly bits are showing. Image: Su Leslie

Cherry blossom season brought these women to the Botanic Gardens for a photo shoot. I particularly love the dress on the right. Image: Su Leslie

Cherry blossom season photo shoot, Botanic Gardens, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Seen near the summit of ลŒwairaka / Mt Albert, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Sign of the times. Vending machine, Devonport Wharf. Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Tui feasting on harakeke (flax), Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Tui in harakeke (flax), Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Tui in harakeke (flax), Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

Tui feasting on harakeke (flax), Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

The Changing Seasons is hosted by Ju-Lyn at Touring my Backyard, and Brian and Bushboy’s World

71 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, October 2021

  1. Hi Su, So many great photos I cannot pick a favourite. Love the macros, the harbour views especially the long wharf and the Tui. Glad that you are doing well and it is great to have people who care and send such wonderful gifts.
    Keep the camera going and hope to see you next month as well xx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Forget ‘no pain no gain’. My daughter didn’t find chemo a picnic, mainly because she had 11 year old twins in tow, but nor did she have horrible side effects. And now she’s as well as the next woman. So celebrate your comparative good fortune, and don’t expend your energy in worrying! So good to read that you’re doing well, and even have vitality enough for your garden. Hooray!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know you’re right Margaret. It’s that 3am worry monster getting the better of me sometimes.

      Come daylight I’m rational again (usually).

      It must have been really tough for your daughter, not only looking after the children, but worrying about their emotional well-being too.

      Like

  3. So close yet so far away ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lovely images as usual, Su. Pleased that your medical team have the chemo dosage at a manageable level which allows you to can get out to enjoy your garden and further afield.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So many things to say, Su ..
    Re :no pain no gain .. I don’t think that actually figures, darlin: the fact that you’re “managing” the chemo has nothing to do with its lack of efficacy.
    Next, it’s truly terrific to have you posting your superb shots again: I note you haven’t lost your liking of and ability for those macros !
    Next, there are some images of flowers there that are mind-boggling ! – e.g., the second after the face-mask cans: do you know what that is, please ? Every blossom shot is superb, btw ..
    And that tui .. how I love the two white feathers under its “chin” ! You have some wonderful birds, you kiwis.
    The gifts you were sent are, without exception, gorgeous. I’m sending a link to this post to a very dear friend up in Brisbane who makes mosaics of all kinds: she will love thiis one !
    Hope you’ll keep on with your Auckland walks and “sittings” by the wharfs, BB: we are the lucky recipients of their outcomes.
    Much love to you from down here in Melbourne, my home town (I recently came to this momentous decision and it pleases me greatly) ..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much M-R.

      I know you’re right about the chemo; we just tend to hear about and see the really serious side-effects.

      The second flower after the face-masks is a pink lavender. I couldn’t resist it in the garden centre, and it’s suddenly started thriving (after 15 months).

      I love tui as well. They are not only beautiful, but fun to watch and make the most amazing range of calls. We have lots in the garden at the moment, which I’m really enjoying.

      Yay for going home! I still haven’t quite figured out where my home town is, but I’m feeling a bit more settled here than I have in a few years — good healthcare and the garden are definitely helping!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Halfway through your treatment–Su, that is such wonderful news! The kindness of friends is some kind of amazing, isn’t it? I cried with every card and gift I received from coworkers when I was out of work and going through my treatments. It is the best kind of overwhelming.
    Your photos are beautiful. Isn’t that little koala in the tree just the cutest little thing?! I feel you, little buddy.
    Keep on getting better, Su–you ‘look’ great!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Su, I’m glad to read that the chemo treatment hasn’t been too harsh on you. I don’t think there is a correlation as to how sick you get = how effective the treatment is. At least it wasn’t that way for my mom or my husband.
    Your pictures are beautiful, as always!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Su, I am sorry that you have to go through Chemo, but glad you are finding it manageable so far. I have been offline and must have missed the announcement of what kind of cancer. But, it doesn’t really matter. I will root for you conquering any kind of cancer’s butt with great speed! Eventually, life will go back to normal, But, for now, you get to really appreciate your good friends who are stepping up and making your struggle a little less lonely. And no doubt, you are meeting some incredible people along the way who are fighting their own battles. I hope you get to ring that bell really soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The nice, kind, good people are not in charge because we are not power-seekers or wealthy beyond words. The nicest people are usually not rich because unless they were born to money, they aren’t out to wring every dime out of the rest of the world.

    I remember people being very kind to me when I had cancer and very warm and caring during all the follow up treatments. I think that is part of the training for working in an area where all the patients are particularly fragile because I’ve heard this from everyone who has been through this — at this point, a lot of people have been through this experience. With only a couple of exceptions, we are all survivors. I’m not sure if this is luck or that none of us had a particularly lethal varieties of the disease. Maybe both.

    And, of course, your photographs are WONDERFUL. They always are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Marilyn.
      What amazed me, especially while I was in hospital, were the number of patients (absolutely the wrong word for them — no patience exhibited at all) who were rude and aggressive towards the unfailingly kind, professional, polite staff. I asked a few of the nurses about it, and it seems that’s part of their normal working day. How long they can remain so wonderful in the face of such nastiness, I don’t know. No wonder there is such a high burn-out rate (and low pay/long hours/political indifference/bureaucracy sure don’t help either).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am tremendously relieved to hear that you are coping well with the chemo, Su, and are already half way through. We always hear the bad news stories which may deter some people from seeking treatment. Your bookmark and earrings are so beautiful. Ju-Lyn and her family, and Sarah, are so creative. Just like you. I should send all my mosaics to you to photograph. It looks lovely. I’m so glad I sent the bright and cheery one.
    Your landscape and flower photos are beautiful. The cannon one is like a painting. I really l9ve it and seeing the ladies in traditional dress must have been such a treat, almost like ending up on a movie set. I also love the colours in the tui. That lavender macro was another favourite. Take care, Su. We look forward to further updates next month, including more positive news on the vaccination front. Some times it takes a while for momentum to build but NZ will get there in the end.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi Su – it’s so nice to see a post from you in my mailbox, and even better to hear you are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

    As you’ve been on a steady journey towards summer, we’re deep into autumn here. The weather has been quite mild for this time of year, and I hope it continues that way for a few more weeks. By then, this backyard renovation that’s been going on since July might finally be over!!

    The photo of the little stuffed koala in the tree was particularly touching. Photos like this make me wish I was a weaver of stories. That image has tales to tell ๐Ÿ™‚

    Stay well, my friend. I continue to have you in my thoughts, sending you positive energy for a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joanne. Thanks for your kind thoughts. I love the koala too; it was so wet and bedraggled (as were we that day) and also perched in a tree that’s destined to be felled as it’s not a NZ native and the council has decided in its wisdom to chop down mature exotic trees and replace them wholesale with native seedlings. I agree with the objective, but along with thousands of others, am worried about the wisdom of the process.

      Hope your mild autumn continues, and you share some renovation images here or on Insta.

      Like

      • I think that’s a sad decision to destroy good trees just because they are non-native. There is certainly a lot more attention being paid to non-native plants here – largely because most of them have become highly invasive, and destructive to the local eco-system. I’m assuming that’s the case there as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree. We do have lots of very invasive species, and Iโ€™m all for trying to curb that. My main worry is that chopping them all down now actually makes it harder for native seedlings to survive, as many need larger mature trees to protect them from wind and sun in their first few years.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Glad to see that you are still producing those lovely flower macros and the moody landscapes. And the Tui photos are beautiful – they would be fabulous on a calendar. I wonder if you ever try to sell your photos? Or enter competitions? Getting out into the garden will help with your recovery, I have no doubt, it’s a place where I forget about everything except the task on hand and hours can pass in a moment. True Zen. Stay well, my friend, my thoughts are with you.
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jude. The garden has absolutely become my refuge — as I know you understand.

      I toy with the idea of selling my images in some form, but chicken out every time. Imposter syndrome? Feeling that the shots I’ve taken don’t quite fill “the brief” — I’m not sure. I suspect that there’s also a feeling that if it becomes commercial I will lose my love of photography. That’s happened to my son, and happened to me with writing during the (endless seeming) years I worked as a copywriter.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. What a lovely positive filled post Su. Such good news that all is going well. I’m sure your positive attitude has a great deal to do with your recovery. Oh my those Devonport sunsets are stunning as are all the other photos. I can understand how your garden is a refuge and a place of peace for you. Thank you for keeping us up to date with progress. I also wonder how the world can be so stuffed up when there are so many good people out there. Here’s to that 90% target for Auckland. I am really looking forward to visiting family again. Stay strong, stay safe and enjoy life. Best wishes winging your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Magical photos, Su, truly inspirational!
    Now, about negative middle of the night thoughts: I’ve a friend in Blighty who calls that time of night “stupid o’clock,” and that’s what the thoughts are – stupid. NOT you! You’re not stupid by a long chalk. Next time the stupid thoughts try to make you believe they’re real just remember how stupid imagination is to think it can force you into believing such lies! Toss them out of your thinking straight away and replace them with all the grateful and positive thoughts you can muster!
    Those negative thoughts are NOT your true thoughts, but they’ll fill up your thinking if you don’t immediately fill, and keep filling, your mind with beauty and goodness and truth and honest and love. The neggies love a vacuum — don’t give ’em one!
    Be persistent, just like you are with rooting up garden weeds (same principle!) and they’ll stop.
    ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  14. As everybody else I am overjoyed by your relative good news and your positive attitude. I too love all photos, am touched by that lost and found koala in the tree, the glorious captures of flora and fauna. There are SO MANY truly good and generous people in our world; we are truly blessed to have them around for us. Also, those carers will never be appreciated enough and I am gutted by those who are not appreciative of ‘how good they have it’, being cared for by these good peeps! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป
    All the best for the second half if your treatment. Keep up your strength and let your spirit soar…. in taking in the beautiful nature, the kindness, the fun bits and LOVE โค . Sending thoughts and a big hug ๐Ÿซ‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much.
      I am getting better in seeing the positives around me, and am grateful that Iโ€™ve had this opportunity to see the goodness in so many people. Iโ€™ll hold on to that for the rest of my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Changing Seasons: October 2021 – Touring My Backyard

  16. I feel very warmed reading your post, Su; words cannot express how happy I am to hear from you.
    So glad to hear you are mostly feeling good – half way through … woohoo!!!!! Sending you lots of positive energy for the remaining treatments!

    Thank you for this awesome dose of beauty (and whimsy) – I have missed your lovely presence in this space. My favourite is the Lil Koala you caught sight of at ลŒwairaka / Mt Albert. It looks so relaxed.

    So glad you like the bookmark – Crafty Older Child will be very pleased to be in good company with Tracy & Sarah, both whose work I’ve shared with the rest of the family ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pleased to hear that Auckland is relaxing restrictions – it has been way way too long. May they continue to do so as your vaccination rates increase.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ooooo. Gifties. How lovely… At first when you said you were late, I thought you were early since it’s still November, but then I saw 2012 and thought, my goodness Su is late. Hahahahaha. Just a tad ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Feel free to delete this and we’ll pretend this didn’t happen because judging from comments, no one noticed. Shhhhh.

    Glad you are being looked after and surrounded by goodness. Leave the news, it’s toxic and decisive and doesn’t reflect reality. I’ve had to heavily wean myself especially during stressful times because it adds to the struggles I’m already dealing with.

    Hugs from Thailand! xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    • ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I canโ€™t believe no one else noticed (or maybe did, but didnโ€™t comment).

      I hear you on the news front. I had pretty much weaned myself off news in the last few years, but with the latest Covid outbreak, Iโ€™m finding it hard not to follow case numbers and vaccination rates. Itโ€™s a slippery slope ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I know, I feel bad even recommending it because I know it’s a safety thing. My school gives us the local tally each day and I’ve stopped looking, but I keep a brief eye out for the national news since Thailand has reopened up.

        Take good care, Su! xxoo

        Like

  18. I’m so happy to read this lovely post by you, dear Su! Already halfway through? That’s wonderful! And I completely echo the others’ sentiments about the “no pain, no gain” part being utter bull…t. (Excuse my French ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Just so happy that your treatment is so well adjusted, and to hear that the nurses are compassionate and good-humored. And I’m relieved to hear about the easing of restrictions for you, how lovely to enjoy a quick cuppa among friends again, isn’t it?
    But wow! You really look for 90% vaccination rate before easing more? Here in Europe most countries hang around 60-65% – which obviously isn’t enough at all, as one can see from the news. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But I doubt very, very much that 90 % would be possibly until it becomes a law to get vaccined. People here just s..k Okay, enough with the swear words. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    The bookmark ist soooo beautiful, and I can’t stop gazing at Tracy’s mosaic – please, please build that little shelter for it in your garden, it would be just so perfect! And I love your mum for mentioning my earrings right away in your Skype call. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Oh, and the sunsets are so beautiful! As is that amazing bottle-brush flower, and the tui.
    I’ve been planning to reply to your email this weekend but another of those damn test got in the way! I need to finish 8 more of them in the next 6(!) weeks!! But hey, like Douglas Adams said: “Don’t panic!”, right? ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Sending much aroha!!! xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my dear friend.

      Our government has mandated vaccination for several groups of occupations โ€” including teachers, healthcare workers and border control workers, so I guess 90 is maybe not too unrealistic. Apparently we are โ€” nationally at 80% (of eligible people โ€” 12+ years) fully vaxxed, but that number hides wide regional and community variation. My little suburb is at 87% double vaxxed, and the one to the west of me is at 92.5%, but there are some rural towns where fewer than 50% of people have had even one shot. Sadly, those are also the communities where Covid would be absolutely devastating if (when) it takes hold.

      Like

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